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Increased serum pancreatitis associated protein (PAP) concentration after longterm alcohol consumption: further evidence for regular subclinical pancreatic damage after heavy drinking?
  1. I Nordback,
  2. M Jaakkola,
  3. J L Iovanna,
  4. J C Dagorn
  1. Department of Surgery, Tampere University Hospital, Finland.


    It has been shown recently that longterm but not short term heavy drinking of alcohol frequently results in increased serum activities of pancreatic enzymes suggesting subclinical pancreatic injury. Serum pancreatitis associated protein (PAP) is a novel protein, whose synthesis in the acinar cells and release into serum is specifically induced by acute pancreatic damage. This study was performed to further characterise the alcohol induced subclinical pancreatic injury by using serum PAP measurements. Three groups were studied: (1) control group (n = 25), (2) short term drinking group (n = 20), who consumed 2.0 g of ethanol per kg body weight during four hours, and (3) longterm drinking group (n = 32), who were admitted to withdrawal clinic after a median 30 months heavy drinking period. Serum PAP concentration was low in the control group (8 (5 to 12) micrograms/l, geometric mean (95% confidence intervals)). In the short term drinking group serum PAP was in the range of the control group values during 56 hours after drinking. Longterm drinking induced at least a 10-fold increase in serum PAP, the highest concentrations being seen on day 2 after drinking had ended (106 (61 to 184) micrograms/l). The patients did not develop abdominal symptoms, increased blood white cell count, or increased serum C reactive protein concentration. These results further support the suggestion that heavy longterm drinking often induces subclinical pancreatic damage, but not clinical pancreatitis.

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